British fighter jets have intercepted two Russian bombers equipped with submarine trackers in the north of Scotland and within NATO’s northern air policing area.
The Russian Tu-142 Bear-F and Tu-142 Bear-J maritime patrol aircraft, used for reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare, were monitored by RAF Typhoons in international air space as they passed north of the UK.
Armed forces minister James Heappey said: “RAF crews at Lossiemouth maintain a constant watch over UK air space and are always ready to take action at a moment’s notice to keep our country safe.
“Pilots launched in their Typhoon jets to intercept two Russian long-range bombers this morning, monitoring them as they passed north of the Shetland Islands, ready to counter any potential threat to UK territory.”
The lead RAF Typhoon pilot added: ‘It’s really satisfying to know we’ve been able to make a successful intercept, maintaining the integrity of UK and NATO airspace.
‘When the alarm for a scramble happened in the early hours of the morning, the adrenaline kicked in. Working in tandem with ground control operators, and with air-to-air refuelling from an RAF Voyager, we were able to stay on task until the mission was complete, and the target aircraft departed the UK’s area of interest.’
A Voyager tanker was also scrambled and remained airborne for the duration of the mission to offer air-to-air refuelling, according to the Ministry of Defence.
The presence of the Voyager meant the Typhoons could remain in the air for the extended period necessary to complete their mission.